Week 13: Bills vs. Chargers
Confidence continues to build in Buffalo as they have won two straight and three of their last four games. That could end this week with the Chargers coming to town. They may be the best team in the league and get star LB Shawne Merriman back after serving a four game suspension for steriods use. The Bills best ally in this one may be the weather. Sunny San Diego players won't be used to the cold of Buffalo and a 10am start on the West Coast won't help them either. It doesn't promise to be as nice as it was last weekend in lovely Western New York.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (5-6) vs. San Diego (9-2)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker
||Chargers by 6
||Chargers lead 19-11-2 (Bills 2-1 in playoffs)
||Chargers Won 1
||Chargers 48-10 in San Diego (2005)
||Rush (2nd); Pass (13th); overall (5th)
||Rush (7th); Pass (14th); overall (9th)
||Rush (t-26th); Pass (30th); overall (29th)
||Rush (t-26th); Pass (16th); overall (21st)
The Bills are getting healthier as the season progresses as they have had no serious injuries the past two weeks. Anthony Thomas twisted an ankle in the win over Jacksonville but should be ok. Keith Ellison has missed two games with a knee injury and will likely miss this week's game as well. Josh Reed is expected back after missing three games with a bruised kidney.
The Chargers have been without DE Luis Castillo the past three weeks with a high ankle sprain and he's still in pain. He will likely miss this week's game as well. Banged up players include G Kris Dielman with an ankle injury, WR Keenan McCardell with a calf problem, S Marlon McCree also has a calf injury and RB Michael Turner has a sore hamstring. All these players are expected to play.
Bills Daily Injury Page
LBs Angelo Crowell and London Fletcher vs. TE Antonio Gates:
The Bills linebackers will have their hands full in pass coverage as they will face the leading receiver on the Chargers in Gates. Look for the Bills to give them help with a safety and maybe even put a corner on him in man to man play.
RB Willis McGahee vs. DT Jamal Williams:
McGahee will have to watch for the big man in the middle. Williams engulfs offensive linemen to allow others to make the plays on the running backs. The Bills need to be as effective against him as they were against the big tackles of Jacksonville last week.
QB J.P. Losman vs. LB Shawne Merriman:
With Williams keeping linemen occupied, Losman will have to watch out for Merriman who will be very motivated coming back after a four week layoff. LT Jason Peters will be busy along with a tight end and the running backs keeping Merriman away from Losman.
RT Terrence Pennington vs. LB Shaun Phillips:
With Merriman out, Phillips became a force and leads the team in sacks. If the Bills pay too much attention to Merriman then Phillips will beat them. Pennington and a tight end will have to watch for him as well.
DTs Larry Tripplett and Kyle Williams vs. RB LaDanian Tomlinson:
While the linebackers are busy with Gates the front four, mainly the tackles, will have to try and keep Tomlinson bottled up. This is no small feat considering the awful play against the run this year and the fact that Tomlinson is a big MVP candidate.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Marcus McNeill:
For the Bills to have any chance in this game they need to get pressure on QB Phillip Rivers. Schobel needs to have one of his hot days and get sacks or at the very least pressures.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Look for them to attack the Chargers like they have their last two opponents, that is through the air. Losman has more confidence every week and will take to the air since the Chargers pass defense is just slightly less efficient then their run defense.
When The Chargers Have The Ball: When they see the tape of the Bills run defense from the past two weeks they will hand it to their MVP candidate early and often. Look for them to feed LT the ball as much as possible especially if the weather turns gloomy.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills just don't matchup well with this team at all. Tomlinson will have a huge day if the Bills don't put together a full 60 minutes of run defense. They have made nice adjustments in the 2nd half the past two weeks but they need to play fundamentally sound the entire game or else they could be way behind at halftime and Tomlinson could be on his way to a 200 yard day. If he isn't enough, Rivers has been very efficient and it just seems to be too much for the Bills to handle despite their improved play of late. The only reason it will be close is because they are at home and the weather will be to their advantage:
Chargers 21, Bills 13
Season Prediction Record: (6-5)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-6)
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